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liable to be increased by the arrival of invalids, the mortality in 1833 was only 707 out of a population of 47,071, or 1 in 67, being a lower ratio than in the healthiest counties in this kingdom.” And of the Eastern Province he adds—“In point of salubrity, the Eastern frontier district of the Cape of Good Hope is said to exceed the Cape district, though it is stated that the climate in different parts of the frontier varies materially," but, “notwithstanding the extremely high temperature of this climate, its salubrity is probably unequalled in any portion of the globe; as a proof, we may state that in the three adjoining districts of Somerset, Albany, and Utenhay, the deaths in 1833 did not amount to more than 327 in a population of 30,000, being only 1 in 91, which is much lower than has ever been observed, even in the very healthiest districts of Great Britain."
The returns of Major Tulloch only came down to the end of 1834, and it may appear, after such testimonies, a work of supererogation to adduce additional authority, but I cannot omit the evidence of Dr. Murray, principal medical officer with the army in Kafirland, in 1835, who reported, after five months' exposure of the regular troops and the colonial militia, in that affair, “ that not a single officer or soldier of the regular army has died, or been required to leave the field on account of sickness, during the whole campaign, which I ascribe partly to the judicious and perfect manner in which the army was organised and equipped in the first instance, and partly, perhaps I should say chiefly, to the salubrity of the climate, in which respect I do not think that the country is surpassed (and I question if it be equalled) by any of the world*."
To the support of the above professional “ certificates” a cloud of witnesses might be brought, if requisite. Not a traveller or resident, from the time of the Dutch occupation down to the latest period, but agrees in the same opinion and speaks or writes in raptures of the beauty and healthfulness of the climate. Tachart, Valentyn, Linschoten, Kolben, De la Caille, Thunberg, Sparrman, Vaillant, Alberti, Barrow, Lichtenstein,
* Vide Report of the British Army Hospital after the late Kafir War, hy John Murray, D.D., head-quarters, King William's Town, 8th June, 1835.
Burchell, Campbell, Thompson, Pringle, Thomas Philipps, Steedman, Major Parlby, Sir J. Herschell, Fairbairn, and Godlonton, besides innumerable others,-praise, in varied language, but with concurrent testimony, the splendour of our skies and the purity of our delicious atmosphere *.
An idea has been prevalent with some persons, who admit the wholesomeness of the climate, that people generally decline after a ten years' residence in the colony, and that in particular elderly persons shorten their years by immigrating hither. Major Tulloch, indeed, observes, regarding the military, and, perhaps, his remark may have given rise to the opinion, “ It appears, however, that the troops between the ages of 18 and 25 are found to suffer less at the Cape than in the United Kingdom, but the reverse at more advanced ages," and he at once proceeds to give the true reason for this, stating, “ This rapid deterioration is attributable to habits of intemperance, which, though they add little to the mortality of the youngest class, are likely, if persisted in, to sow the seeds of diseases which develop themselves more fully as the soldier advances in life,” which will of course easily account for a similar consequence among the civilian class, under less restraint than the soldiery. To those of steady habits the adoption of this colony as a home most assuredly does not accelerate decline, but on the contrary, I verily believe after a twenty-two years' experience and some observation, that it prolongs life, by giving firmness to mature health, and strength to many a weakened and shattered constitution. Abundant instances might be adduced within my own knowledge of persons who, arriving in the Eastern Province at an advanced age, have reached the octogenarian goal, and those who have then paid the great debt have dropped off unattended by any of the usually sad accompaniments of decay in Europe, but have been ripely gathered into “ the house appointed for all living t."
Sir John Herschell states the purity of the air is such, that at the Cape of Good Hope the planet Venus shines so brightly, that the most minute parts of objects, such as the leaves of trees, are perfectly well distinguished, and this not only by contrast (as when such leaves are seen against a white wall), but even when lying on the dark ground. The smallest print can be read by the light of the moon.
+ In a recent excursion I made to the frontier districts, I visited
That the climate, therefore, is congenial to our species is no matter of question; and I believe nowhere will be found a finer race of people than are born within our colony. The youthful Dutch are commonly of the heroic standard in stature, and display that complete development of muscular beauty which marks at once the suitability of the climate to mature the human frame. Those of British origin, too, are not behind the offspring of the elder colonists; and whether we take into account their capability of enduring fatigne, and their personal courage (not unfrequently tested, and in which they assuredly excel the former), their physical appearance, their activity, strength, and their moral habits and intelligence, I feel assured that, in its youth, manhood, and old age, no other settlement can surpass, if it can compete with, the Cape of Good Hope. Although these remarks apply to the colony in general, it is only fair to observe that the Eastern division seems more favourable to imparting the semblance of health to its juvenile population ; for while the young persons, especially about the Cape districts, have somewhat of the sallowness of complexion common to warm climates, those of the east possess all the ruddy freshness of an English rustic. Great personal charms, too, are common among both sexes, but par excellence amongst “the fair.”
Perhaps another practical argument may (not vainly) be employed, while insisting upon the superiority of our climate, which is deduced from the actual experience of the British settlers of Albany; I quote from Mr. Godlonton's paper, the “ Graham's Town Journal,” but vouch for the facts as they fell under my own eye :“On their arrival in 1820, the total number of the
the village of Bathurst, the centre of the locations of the immigrants of 1820, and I there numbered up fifteen persons still living in the immediate neighbourhood who all left their native homes after they had attained sixty years of age. One, my respected relative, Simon Biddulph, Esq., has just paid the great debt of nature, who, during the whole period of his residence in this colony, twenty-two years, never knew a day's illness, and parted at last from life in a gentle sleep.
The late Mr. Le Breton, who founded that eminently successful company the South African Fire and LIFE Assurance Company in order to ascertain the probabilities of human life in the colony, visited most of the churchyards, and examined every death registration within his reach, and then pronounced, “ If a man has rounded forty-two in this colony, he may live for ever!”
settlers consisted of nearly 4000 souls, and these were placed upon the lands allotted to them at the commencement of winter, and during an unusually wet season, with no protection save the shelter of the bush, the tent, or other canvass covering. The discomforts experienced were many, but still the general health of the settlement was excellent; and although complaints of want of comfort were rife enough amongst the emigrants, yet there was but one opinion as to the salubrity of the climate, and its congeniality to an European constitution.” In truth not one death, either juvenile or adult, was occasioned by exposure; an extraordinary circumstance, when it is known that nine-tenths of the settlers came from London, and none were accustomed to brave such exposure in their parent land. But I must proceed with my quotation from Mr. Godlonton, who adds—" It is this superiority which enables the farmers of the interior districts to make their long and toilsome journeys to market. They are sometimes several weeks from home, during which time they seldom enjoy the shelter of a roof. In fair weather the bare ground, or a rush mat spread upon it, usually serves them for repose, whilst in wet their waggons afford them effectual refuge ; nor is this
exposure deemed any hardship. The fineness of the climate seems to make up for the badness of the roads, and also reconciles the inhabitants of the more remote parts of the colony to the great distance between them and a market for their surplus produce.” So far from these excursions being considered a hardship, they are looked upon as pleasurable relaxations from toil.
But nature, “ kindly bounteous” in the protection and maintenance of her work, is quite as propitiously disposed for its multiplication. Unstinted room, plenty of food, exemption from the cankering cares of an old country, and an early development of the physical powers, induce early marriages, generally the happiest in all countries, and especially desirable in a clime so warm and a settlement so young as this; the consequences are large families brought to maturity within a period when they can gratify their parents with the sight of their successful establishment in the world, and when they can repay the solicitude bestowed upon them during the days of infantile weakness. Another circumstance favourable to the rapid increase of the
population is, not only the comparative ease with which parturition itself is accomplished, but the infrequency of its fatal termination ; and if it be not impiety to express the thought, I
l; should say it would seem that in this climate the tremendous denunciation at the fall—“ In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children”—had in mercy been stripped of half its terrors. The loss of life, too, in the early ages of childhood, from dentition,
“ thousand” other “ills that flesh is heir to," common to the colder climes, is extremely trifling. One-half of the human race born in Europe are said to die in infancy. Infant death in the colony is of rather rare occurrence, and by far the very great majority who inhale their first breath at the Cape, of whatever origin, except the native races, stretch out their span of life to a mature age, and in most cases to a time when the weary spirit wishes to depart. The average length of life in the Cape settlement, in the absence of correct calculations, may be stated as equal to that of England, and the colony appears equally able with the American states to double its population every quarter of a century, if not in a less period; that of 1816 having been 88,486 souls, while that of 1841 is estimated at from 180,000 to 220,000 souls.
SOIL AND PRODUCTIONS.—The plains stretching along the western and southern coasts are as rich and luxuriant as any in the world, bringing forth in abundance every variety of animal and vegetable food. It is the most densely peopled portion within the colonial boundary. Beyond the first range of mountains which bound these plains is the first terrace or elevation, containing a considerable area of well-watered and fertile land, interspersed with karoos or desert patches, but still raising much grain, and a large quantity of stock. Behind this is the second terrace, a space occupied almost exclusively by desert spaces called the Great Karroo, still even here are many oases where rich crops are harvested, and large herds of stock successfully reared; and above this is the third terrace, chiefly desert waste, except along the slopes of the mountain buttresses of the Roggeveld, Nieuwveldt, Winter and Snieubergen, where some of the most intelligent and substantial yeomen, herders of sheep, cattle, &c., reside.